Friday, June 28, 2013

Local Concerts for the Weekend of June 28

Here's a collection of some of the top concerts at the best local venues for the weekend of Friday, June 28 - Sunday, June 30:

Friday, June 28:

  • Dave Matthews Band with Mavis Staples at the Susquehanna Bank Center -- A favorite for sure
  • Tesla at Penn's Peak 
  • Darren Criss at the Theater of the Living Arts
  • Les Professionnels with Art Installation by Brooks Bell at Milkboy Philly
  • The Cat Empire with Blackalicious at the World CafĂ© Live (Downstairs) -- Take a listen to The Cat Empire, they're worth it:
  • Designer Drugs and Skitsnygg at the Soundgarden Hotel
Saturday, June 29:
  • Dave Matthews Band with Mavis Staples at the Susquehanna Bank Center
  • The Doobie Brothers at Ceasar's Atlantic City -- Some classic rock fun
  • Dash Berlin at Soundgarden Hotel 
  • Zombie Beach Party with Sharkskins, DJ Kiltboy, and Dave Ghoul at the Trocadero Theater 
  • Greyboy Allstars with Tauk at Union Transfer
  • Morning Teleportation with Nico's Gun and Bridge Underwater at Milkboy Philly
  • Barrington Levy with Sensamotion at The Blockley
  • Blow the Scene Fest 2013 at the Broad Street Ministry -- Visit for more information
  • Pennsylvania Deathbed Festival 2013 at Maingate -- Visit the event's Facebook page at
Sunday, June 30: 
  • Counting Crows with The Wallflowers at the Borgata Event Center -- Oh, how I wish I was going to this concert
  • 92.5 Anniversary Show with Braid Paisley at the Susquehanna Bank Center 
  • Shakedown Flea Market at The Blockley -- This isn't actually a concert, but it sounds like fun, and it's free! Visit their facebook page for more information:
  • Legends in Concert 2013 at Bally's Atlantic City -- Visit for more information 
All information on the above concerts is from Visit their website for a more detailed listing of regional concerts. Have a great weekend fellow concert-goers and music lovers! 

Follow me at @AW_Reporter. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Rolling Stones Bid Farewell to America

By Alison Wallach

On Monday night, The Rolling Stones performed at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. as their final North American stop before moving onto England where they will continue their 50 and Counting Tour -- a tour they claim will be their last.

Rock education has been a central part of my upbringing. I can remember my father singing The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" to subdue the tears that fell in my "terrible twos" as I wailed over not having the latest season of Barney on videotape or had a temper tantrum in the grocery store when I couldn't quite reach the Frosted Flakes. I probably knew the chorus of that song better than I knew the alphabet.

Seeing The Rolling Stones live in concert sat as an unchecked item on my bucket list for years, and with the cost of tickets and the age of the band members rising higher, I figured my bucket list would remain in this sad, unfulfilled state for all eternity.

As fate would have it, tickets went on sale for The Rolling Stones supposed last tour date in America EVER, and my father could not pass up this opportunity, securing tickets before they sold out in their typical, lightening speed fashion.

And so it would happen: I would see The Rolling Stones in concert. I would be in the same room as The Rolling Stones! Granted, that room is, according to, "a 20,000-seat multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue," but I digress.

The Stones opened with "Get Off Of My Cloud," an edgy start, but an impressive one.

Throughout the night, Mick Jagger's voice only grew stronger, and his energy level somehow managed to increase precipitously as he began to incorporate more dancing and motion across the stage. How a person can sustain such stamina at age 69 is truly beyond me. He's an inspiration to all of us less than elderly people who occasionally find ourselves breathless at the top of the stairs.

The audience, on the other hand, watched The Stones from their seats as if they were watching a game of golf on their televisions. Although sitters may be expected in the nosebleed area that I occupied, the tongue pit, a section of the audience directly in front of the stage where tickets are worth $1,600, didn't really give back the same kind of enthusiasm Mick Jagger gave out. This is the world's greatest rock and roll band, and there they are on stage pouring their hearts out on their 50th anniversary tour, how can the audience not feel motivated to get up and dance?

I decided to sum up the audience's lack of movement to a case of the Mondays, and perhaps, in some instances, a case of arthritis. I shouted the lyrics of "Gimme Shelter" back to the band, trusting they heard me from 100 feet away, and I danced excitedly as heard the first "woo woo's" of "Sympathy for the Devil."

Although the concert featured no surprise guest as became customary with the other performances of the 50 and Counting Tour, Mick Taylor, former guitarist for The Rolling Stones, did make a special appearance on stage with the band. During the performance of "Midnight Rambler," Taylor accompanied The Stones to  produce pure musical gold. The intensity of Mick Jagger's vocals reached a new peak as did his harmonica playing; Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, and Ronnie Wood complimented each other's guitar playing perfectly, which resulted in raw, clear riffs; and Charlie Watts was on point on drums, as always.

Keith Richards took a turn at the mic with "You Got the Silver" and "Before They Make Me Run," sounding and appearing better than he has in recent years, with a smile on his face that lit up the crowd.

When they played "You Can't Always Get What You Want," it sunk in that I had really made it -- my life with The Rolling Stones had come full circle.

After what amounted to a two-hour and twenty-minute all-around incredible performance, The Rolling Stones closed with a very satisfying performance of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and thus ended one of the greatest experiences of my life.
The Rolling Stones performed at the Verizon Center to a sold-out crowd

Both Photos by Alison Wallach

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Overview of the Firefly Music Festival

By Alison Wallach

Year two of the Firefly Music Festival at the Woodlands of the Dover International Speedway exceeded my already high expectations. From Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 23, I spent my days and nights in a musical Heaven, rocking out with upwards of 60,000 others who likewise basked in the glory of mind blowing sights, miraculous sounds, and the most delicious cheeseburgers.

Nothing beats the feeling of enormous groups of people coming together to appreciate their shared music tastes and each other's company. It's music festivals like Firefly that are quickly becoming the Woodstocks of our generation. Everywhere I looked I saw something else to fulfill my long awaited, music festival dreams -- a million chances to check off the "to-do's" on my Firefly bucket list.

When I say that I'm bad with directions, I mean that I sometimes need a GPS to navigate my way safely from my bedroom to my kitchen. That being said, the immensity of Firefly's grounds overwhelmed me, but it was the positive kind of overwhelming feeling that fills you with joyous anticipation. Every corner brought with it a new surprise, be it a silent dance party at the Headphone Disco or a patch of dirt that I welcomed as a complimentary mud bath. Not to mention, Firefly stationed enough maps on the grounds and enough volunteers ready to assist guests with anything they needed to ensure that people like me didn't wind up in the wrong part of the Woodlands.

Granted, I lived in luxury during those three days. I cannot say that I got the full experience of the Firefly Music Festival, as I stationed myself at a friend's apartment, conveniently located forty minutes outside of Dover in Newark, Delaware. (Shout out to Steph Espie for housing me -- you rock harder than Firefly!)

Being a newbie to the world of three-day long jam sessions, I felt a bit intimidated by the seasoned professionals who knew what to do and when to go do it. Each day presented me with a number of crucial, life-altering decisions: do I go see Matt and Kim at the Lawn Stage and risk losing my sweet, front row spot at the Firefly Main Stage where I'd see Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite and Passion Pit?

I chose to play it safe, and I apparently missed one amazing performance by Matt and Kim. Yet, I did get to hear Ben Harper's rich, bluesy, soulful sound from several feet away and come within inches of Passion Pit's lead singer Michael Angelakos as he jumped from the stage to get the audience's help in singing "Sleepy Head" after allergies caused him to lose his voice. Angelakos explained that his battle with Bipolar Disorder forced him to cancel his scheduled performance at last year's Firefly in addition to all of his July 2012 tour dates. Although they had to finish their performance early due to Angelakos' throat issues,  Passion Pit put on one of the most energetic, heartfelt performances of Firefly, motivated by Angelakos' refusal to let anything prevent him from making it up to the crowd at Firefly by giving it his absolute all.

Other festival highlights included Friday evening's performance by The Avett Brothers, who captivated audiences with their perfectly balanced setlist of folk and bluegrass sounds combined with indie rock and their even more perfect and chill-rendering vocal harmonies. During the performance, Seth Avett crowd surfed the audience with his guitar in hand.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers did not disappoint on Friday night, performing many of their classic hits with as much enthusiasm and instrumental magic as ever. When the RHCP returned to the stage for an encore, bassist Michael Peter Balzary, more commonly known as Flea, came walking in on his hands, a literal testament to the continuing strength of the band both musically and physically in terms of performance stamina and stage presence.

On Saturday afternoon, the Alabama Shakes drew a remarkably large crowd, as lead singer Brittany Howard belted out vocals reminiscent of a young Aretha Franklin, as second-year Firefly attendee Stephen Harrington said. Her voice dipped with emotion and passion that reverberated towards the outermost reaches of the audience.

In contrast, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros seemed to struggle in keeping the audience's attention. Having seen them previously at The Theater of the Living Arts, it's obvious they perform better in a more intimate settings, as is the case with many bands who naturally prefer captive audiences. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes in particular seem to feed off the audience's energy and interact a good deal with their guests, which becomes difficult in a festival crowd.

When I saw Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros last, they were amazing and got everyone in the audience up and dancing. I remember leaving thinking that the band put on one of the best shows I had ever sen, hence my surprise when I felt their performance at Firefly to be lackluster. The chemistry between lead singer Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos makes for a powerful performance, but it appeared as if Castrinos had fallen ill and if Ebert couldn't bear the heat. At one point, an audience member requested that they play their hit "Home," to which Ebert replied, "No s**t we'll get to it," not putting much effort into hiding any bitterness. Still, they played "Home" and their other hits with what some enthusiasm."

Saturday certainly ended on a high note with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers closing out day two. Despite the predominately young crowd at Firefly, Tom Petty never seems to go out of style, with hoards of fans, young and old, coming out in support of the band. The massive sing along that broke out during "Free Fallin'" created a beautiful moment of unity, happiness, and love among the concert-goers.

Sunday's brief periods of hard rain couldn't put a damper on the festival goers who took it as an opportunity to both re-hydrate and a get a break from the rather oppressive heat and humidity. Sunday also brought with it up and coming folk band Delta Rae, who put on an incredible performance and covered Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" in an amazing rendition. The band seemed genuinely thrilled to have the support of a rather large crowd, and their excitement came shining through in their music.

Foster the People replaced Imagine Dragons to close the festival on Sunday night, putting on a visual spectacle with an array of lights and dancers dressed up as ghoulish creatures similar to those on the cover of the band's 2011 album Torches. Although Foster the People slightly disappointed in that they ended their set fifteen minutes early, they made up for it with the presentation of new material and their killer finale of
"Pumped Up Kicks."

So, was Firefly worth the six and a half hour traffic back up the first day? Was it worth the cost? Was it worth the mud stains that cover every article of clothing I wore? No doubt about it.
Would I go again next year, and the many consecutive years afterwards in which I predict Firefly will continue to rein supreme among the East Coast's music festivals?
I'll see you there.

The Avett Brothers perform at Main Stage on Friday

Seth Avett awesomely crowd surfing 
Joe Kwon of The Avett Brothers, wielding his cello like a weapon of musical brilliance. Also notice Chad Smith  of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on drums. 
Bassist Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers tear it up

RHCP performing "Californication"

Jim James lights up the stage
Jim James on saxophone

The Alabama Shakes on Saturday afternoon

The passion of Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes

Delta Rae 

Charlie Musselwhite and Ben Harper play the blues

Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit loses his voice and asks the audience to sing

Vampire Weekend: 10/10

Foster the People close Firefly 

The lights and dancers of Foster the People's eye-catching performance

Photo by our friend Mike the Security Guard

Bob Saget made an appearance via cardboard cutout

All above photos by Alison Wallach, except where noted otherwise

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Local Concerts for the Weekend of June 15

Here's a collection of some of the top concerts at the best local venues for the weekend of Saturday, June 15 - Sunday, June 16:

Saturday, June 15:
  • Sting at the Borgata Event Center
  • New Kids on the Block with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees at the Wells Fargo Center
  • Delbert McClinton at the Keswick Theater
  • Foreigner at the Golden Nugget
Sunday, June 16:
  • Celtic Woman at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts
  • Willie Nelson at Sands Bethlehem Event Center
  • Junip with Quadron and Barbarossa at Union Transfer
All concert information retrieved from, visit this website for local concert listings and more.

Preview of the Firefly Music Festival!

By: Alison Wallach

DOVER, DE –In less than two hours by car, you can make it to one of the region’s largest summer concert festivals, the Firefly Music Festival at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, taking place from June 21 to June 23.

Featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Vampire Weekend, and 68 other performers, Firefly offers a wide variety of musical artists to please its tens of thousands of attendees. According to a press release from the Firefly Music Festival and Red Frog Events, in its inaugural year of 2012, over 30,000 people crowded the eighty-seven acres of festival grounds each day.

“We set out to make Firefly the East Coast’s premier music festival and delivered in our inaugural year, with more than 30,000 individuals experiencing 48 performances over three days,” says Firefly Music Festival Director Greg Bostrom. “We couldn’t be more excited to add to last year’s success as we bring Firefly to life for a second year. Between our star-studded lineup, enthusiastic fans and great partners at Dover International Speedway, we plan to bring an even bigger and better festival to The Woodlands this June.”

Each day, bands play at one of four locations on the festival’s grounds, providing a constant stream of music from noon to midnight.

If in need of a break from the music, concertgoers have no shortage of options for a change of pace. According to its website (, Firefly will introduce this year the “Forest Cinema,” where attendees can watch black and white, silent films in a secluded location in The Woodlands. The festival also features an arcade; a hot air balloon; an attraction known as “The Pathway,” which features a light show in a forest clearing; and “Hammock Hangouts,” where you can take a respite from rocking out and lounge with friends. The “Heineken Domes” showcase DJs and VJ who will “perform amidst refreshing AC and an incredible 360° audio visual experience,” Firefly’s website says.

Collaborating with TOMS Shoes, Firefly offers TOMS available for purchase, with artists on hand to customize your shoes. For every pair of TOMS bought at Firefly, a child in need will receive a pair of shoes through the One for One Movement.

According to the festival’s website, Firefly will expand its community and global impact through its “Sustainable Beats” program, which creates carbon neutral environment by offsetting its energy usage with the help of the Green Mountain Energy Company. Last year, Firefly successfully offset over 945,100 pounds of carbon dioxide. (

Partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and their Music Gives to St. Jude Kids initiative, Firefly raised $4.6 million last year towards the fight against childhood cancer and they’re “thrilled to raise even more money in 2013,” as stated on their website. (

When it comes to feeding the tens of thousands of guests, Firefly makes it easy to find something to please every palate. Although outside food is prohibited, the festival features numerous food stands as part of its Farmers Market, offering items ranging from vegan and healthy food to burgers and pizza. The festival also boasts a winery presenting popular local wines known as “The Vineyard,” Bearclaw Coffee at The Coffee House, and Dogfish Head beer at The Brewery.
Thousands will camp out at the three-day long festival, renting out space in designated locations for tent camping, RV camping, and what Firefly’s website refers to as “glamping,” or “glamorous camping” in air-conditioned tents. (

For those less inclined to roughing it outdoors, the festival grounds are less than an hour from Newark and Wilmington, each with plenty of options for hotel accommodations. Follow this link to find hotel rooms available in the area:

While three-day passes to the Firefly Music Festival are sold out, single day passes are still available at a cost of $98 per day. If you are driving to the festival, there will be parking space available and a shuttle that runs to and from the parking lot to the main festival area.

For local residents interested in attending but not interested in driving to the festival, Greyhound bus services are available from Philadelphia directly to Dover. SEPTA regional rail lines offer transportation to Wilmington, from where Greyhound buses provide route to Dover. For more information, visit Greyhound’s website at: and SEPTA’s website at:

Another option for locals is Firefly’s Rock & Bus, a bus service that picks up concert-goers at locations all along the East Coast and drops off directly at the Festival. Information on the Rock & Bus can be found by following this link:

If planning to extend your time in Dover beyond the festival, Kent County offers museums, including the Biggs Museum of American Art and the Air Mobility Command Museum; art galleries; wineries; two casinos, the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and the Harrington Raceway & Casino; and free historical walking tours. Delaware’s beach resorts are not a far drive from the festival, offering a tranquil escape after the high-energy concerts. Details on local attractions can be found at:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Local Concerts For The Weekend of June 7

Here's a collection of some of the top concerts at the best local venues for the weekend of Friday, June 7 - Sunday, June 9:

Friday, June 7
  • B-52’s at the Keswick Theatre
  • The National with the Dirty Projectors at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts
  • Lissie with Vance Joy at Union Transfer
  • Portugal. The Man at the Theater of the Living Arts
  • Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls at The Underground Art
Saturday, June 8
  • Kenny Chesney with the Eli Young Band, Kacey Musgraves, and Eric Church at the Lincoln Financial Field
  • Father John Misty with Pure Bathing Culture at Union Transfer
  • Of Monsters and Men with Half Moon Run at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing
  • Willie Nelson at Caesar’s Atlantic City
  • Billy Idol at the House of Blues in Atlantic City
  • Rascals at the Academy of Music
  • Metric, Royal Teeth, and Goodnight Lights at the Piazza at Schmidt’s (FREE! Click for more info about 104.5's Summer Block Parties)
Sunday, June 9
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic at theTower Theatre
  • Billy Idol at Sand's Casino Resort
  • Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival 2013
Follow this link for more information on all of the above events

Enjoy fellow concert goers!